Tesco rewarded ‘star’ mobile marketer status by IAB as retailers still struggle with the channel

By Seb Joseph | News editor

March 31, 2015 | 4 min read

Tesco is mastering mobile marketing faster than rivals still labouring to turn the channel into an effective part of their media mix, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The supermarket emerged as the standout retailer in the trade body’s seventh mobile audit, scoring eight on average when it was judged against 10 mobile KPIs in February.

It reflects the work Tesco has done behind the scenes to elevate mobile that has seen it nail the fundamentals such as ensuring paid search links push users through to an optimised site and that paid search is optimised for mobile, according to the report.

Other retailers have not been as quick to respond to exploit the sales opportunity from mobile devices. Less than a third (32 per cent) of retailers have a transactional app, up by just two per cent since 2013. Conversely, most retailers (64 per cent) have a transactional mobile site though this has only increased by four per cent over the last two years.

Tesco’s top mobile marketer status is all the more impressive given that unlike previous reports that measured 50 brands, the IAB assessed 250 from a bigger pool of sectors. The supermarket was judged by brands including Disney, Seat and Lego on the list of top brands on the smaller screen.

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There is hope for retailers in the form of more case studies flooding the market. Several retailers managed to appear on the top 100 downloaded apps in 2014, according to the IAB’s joint study with analytics platform App Annie, proof it claimed, “when you do mobile well you will reap the rewards”.

The report revealed that over 80 per cent of the top 250 UK advertisers have an optimised site with half of those using responsive web design. Automotive advertisers lead the way with 94 per cent owning a mobile optimised site compared to 87 per cent for travel and 72 per cent for FMCG.

Despite advertisers firming up their mobile plans, there are those yet to commit to the channel. Some 10 per cent of the top 50 UK brands are running mobile campaigns without a mobile optimised site, suggesting they do not see a mobile presence as a worthwhile investment. In the FMCG sector, around nine per cent of brands don’t have a mobile presence and this figure is seven per cent for retail and travel, six per cent for social and five per cent for political organisations.

Mike Reynolds, senior mobile executive at the IAB, said: “The audit shows that brands are finally putting mobile as a top priority, which is great to see. There are still some gaps though, especially when you consider that brands are spending their budgets on mobile advertising, however their shop fronts still aren’t optimised for mobile. Over the next 12 months I foresee that brands that have achieved the basics of mobile will focus on building on the quality of their mobile presence.”


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